[whiteperil] Sean: è¦å (a new post at The White Peril ç½ç¦)
whiteperil at lists.powerblogs.com
whiteperil at lists.powerblogs.com
Sun Jul 10 01:22:30 EDT 2005
Posted by Sean:
Topic 1 for discussion among talking heads this weekend:
How can Japan usefully tighten counter-terrorism measures after last
week's bombings in London? The Asahi gives a list in its Japanese
At the Ministry of Justice, the Public Security Intelligence Agency
has established an Emergency Intelligence Office to tighten up
instructions to Immigration Control about screening of foreigners
in Japan [to find] illegal entrants, especially those from England.
The Japan Defense Agency is conducting searches for suspicious
items and inspections at SDF bases, including Samawa [in Iraq].
Weapons, ammunition, other hazardous materials, vehicles, documents
of identification, and uniforms will be tightly controlled in close
cooperation with [local] police.
The Police Agency has increased the level of alert at Japanese
diplomatic posts abroad. Instructions have been issued to
prefectural and metropolitan police agencies to reassess the state
of defense measures.
The Ministry of Land, Transport, and Infrastructure has warned
rail, airline, bus, and airport management corporations [of the
need for increased safety measures]. In particular, instructions to
look into information gathering about rail and air [system
vulnerability] have been issued to the MLTI's counter-terrorism
The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has increased the
level of alert at nuclear power plants, in cooperation with the
Maritime Security Agency and the Police Agency. Response measures
have been strengthened at major industrial complexes and the Aichi
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has called on NHK to work toward
[better] provision of information to Japanese citizens abroad
through international broadcasting.
The Financial Services Agency is increasing cooperation between its
own Overseas Finance Division and agents of international finance.
Police presence has been increased at possible terrorist targets,
and the last few nights of news broadcasts have featured clusters of
solemn station police prodding trash receptacles and looking in toilet
What do the people think of all this? The Yomiuri says that there's no
stampede to cancel reservations on Tokyo-London flights, though of
course the travel agencies have received some calls asking about
safety. The Japanese may have their misgivings about Prime Minister
Koizumi's robust support of President Bush's approach to the WOT, but
if there's anything they're good at, it's making fatalistic
adjustments to reality when necessary.
Anyway, everyone in Tokyo is, beneath the rhythms of daily life,
already braced for a major earthquake that could kill 5000 to 10000
people. Every time you enter a thirty-year-old building, or descend a
narrow staircase to get to a basement bar, or get in an elevator and
press the button for the 40th floor, or drive over one of the many
stacks of elevated highways, it's a shadowy thought that flits across
your mind. The sarin gas attacks ten years ago showed that there were
actually native Japanese nutcases capable of attacking the Tokyo
subway system. And a few months ago, we spent a week watching bodies
being dug out from the twisted wreckage of a derailed commuter train
in western Japan; the final number of deaths was over 100.
It's impossible to assess how likely an Islamist terrorist attack is
here. Japan's been on al-Qaeda's hit list for the past few years, but
all the authorities have really discovered in the way of activity here
was an Algerian-French money launderer. In any case, extra police
and more-stringent inspections are a good idea, but they're likely to
frustrate rather than actually foil attacks in the long run.
I think that most of us figure that, even in the event of multiple
coordinated strikes on, say, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Tokyo, and
Ueno stations (with maybe Kasumigaseki thrown in to stick it to the
civil service) at 8:30 a.m. on a work day, the probability that any
one of us is going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is
pretty low. Like England, Japan has first-rate fire and rescue
networks and citizens who are used to orderly, democratic civic life.
We'll just have to deal with whatever comes.
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